What to get for Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving plans—
If you haven’t already made your plans, you need to do your shopping tomorrow or the next day. We’re shopping Tuesday. If you just got here, and you want traditional food, here’s what you need:

Turkey—that’s first—you need a decent size turkey. Most people would agree that baking it in the oven is the best way since your house is supposed to smell like turkey all day. As long as you keep basting it, the turkey should be moist. Some people would argue that deep frying the turkey is better, but I am not a fan of anything that is deep fried except when I sneak sweet potato fries.

Stuffing, also known as dressing—most people I know make stuffing from a box, but I’m sure it tastes better if it’s made from scratch. We’re making it from a box like we always do. I don’t like stuffing.

Sweet potatoes—lots of Americans bake them with small marshmallows on top. I just like them baked normally. Marshmallows are for camping.

Mashed potatoes—should be a bit chunky. We usually have rice instead but this year we’re having baked potatoes with butter and green onions. We don’t like sour cream.

Gravy—save me from this stuff. But most Americans love it so if you’re getting all traditional, you must have it. They put it on everything—the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the turkey.

Cranberries—you need the whole sauce which is pretty easy to make, I make it the night before and the jellied stuff that comes in a can and when you put in on the plate, you see the can’s little rings. I love the whole cranberry sauce.

Green vegetables—many Americans like a frightful dish made with some sort of crunchy onions, mushroom soup and green beans. Also popular—green beans or asparagus. We’re thinking of making chayote. You cook it in olive oil and red wine vinegar. It’s Mexican squash.

Some people also make tons more side dishes including macaroni and cheese, but we keep it simple. Some also cook ham.

For dessert, I am making an apple pie and a sweet potato pie. Other popular pies include cherry, mincemeat and pumpkin.

Other popular desserts include cheesecake and pound cake. I’m telling you, if you’re new to this country, this would be the time to go overboard on food. There is such a thing has having too much food. Most people have leftovers for days. I like leftover turkey and cranberries.

This weekend I ran 32 miles. I’m hoping all this running clears my head enough that I can get my writing done. I’m finishing one project after another while running and reading my friend’s book Father Divine’s Bike. The sheer volume of writing that a person like me needs to do is simply ridiculous. I’m reading The Days of Abandonment and a couple poetry books, and always a few manuscripts rattling around.

I still can’t believe that Wanda is no longer with us. She was only 67 and she was a huge force of nature. People talk about me being a force of nature, but Wanda owned the room.

Not a lot more travel between now and the end of the year. I go to Chicago the week after Thanksgiving, I leave the day Mark flies in from Guadalajara. We go to Pismo Beach for a few days before Christmas and after Christmas we go to Nebraska. But in 2014, I am promoting the two books I have coming out next year. So there will be a lot of trips. Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, maybe Michigan, New York, DC, New England—San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, it should be a fun year of travel and book selling. Setting up a tour is more work than one would think.

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Published in: on November 24, 2013 at 8:23 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. 1. When I make home-made stuffing, it’s not as good as the kind from the box.

    2. I am so with you on the gravy. I don’t get the lure of gravy. I know a cat named Gravy who loves gravy. I don’t.

    3. On running, it might amuse you to know that my middle school son has to run a mile for P.E. soon so I thought I’d help him out by running with him at the track. It turns out that going to exercise classes regularly at the YMCA doesn’t mean you can run at all. I couldn’t even run one mile on the first day that we went to the track. (Neither could he.) We walked and jogged and told each other our goal was to improve every day. We did, and by our fifth day we could run a mile without stopping, but not very fast.


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